Dr. Stacey Reinke

  1. What does the Translational Research Fellowship Award mean to you?
    • I am honoured to be the recipient of this prestigious award. For any biomedical researcher, the ultimate goal is to have a positive impact on the lives of patients suffering from disease. Through this award, I will be able to continue my investigations into multiple sclerosis (MS) and its pathogenic mechanisms with the goal of establishing a clinically useful diagnostic test for MS. Using current criteria, diagnosis can take months or even years for some patients; development and implementation of a definitive test for MS would mean earlier therapeutic intervention and better quality of life and overall outcomes for people with MS.
  2. Tell us a little about your research project (in 100 words or less).
    • MS is an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS), for which no definitive diagnostic test exists. Current diagnostic criteria include monitoring signs and symptoms, MRI imaging, CSF analyses, and excluding other disorders. Metabolomics, the systematic study of small molecules, identifies complex biomarker signatures of disease. We recently reported that the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy-detectable metabolome of cerebrospinal fluid could discriminate MS from non-MS patients. I will expand upon these findings, analyzing serum samples (less invasively collected than CSF) and using a more sensitive mass spectrometry platform to identify a robust diagnostic metabolomic profile of MS.
  3. What are the plans for the duration of your studies?
    • MS is a complex and multi-factorial disease. In the post-genomic era, utilizing integrative systems biology approaches (metagenomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics) is necessary for comprehensively investigating these multi-factorial disease processes. For the remainder of my postdoctoral training at the University of Alberta, I will use systems biology approaches to identify biomarkers of disease as well as investigate underlying disease mechanisms. My studies will focus on comparative analyses involving human bio-specimens as well as in vitro and in vivo models of MS.
  4. What are your career goals?
    • I am an academic at heart; I have always had an intense curiosity for how biological systems function. My overriding goal is to become an academic principal investigator so that I can lead my own research initiatives, inspire the next generation of researchers, and improve the lives of people suffering from disease.